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Writing: Informative — How-to example

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- [Voiceover] So we've got a writing and language passage here, it's called, "A Life in Traffic." All right, let's just get into it. A subway system is expanded to provide service to a growing suburb. A bike-sharing program is adopted to encourage non-motorized transportation. Stoplight timing is coordinated to alleviate rush hour traffic jams in a congested downtown area. When any one of these changes occur, it is likely the result of careful analysis conducted by transportation planners. So that felt a little off, let's just read it a little bit more carefully. When any one of these changes, so they are talking about the individual changes, they're not talking all of these changes at the same time. So if you're saying any one of these things, you have a singular subject right over here. So the verb should match that singular subject. But they have occur, if you said all of these changes, then you would say occur. iIf you're talking about the plural, many changes, what are they doing? They occur. But if you're saying any one change, it doesn't occur, a single thing occurs. This needs to be the singular form. If that one change occurs, not occur. So this should be occurs. So let's look at the choices. So, both of these are occurs, this one says when any one of these changes occurs, they are, well we're talking about any one change, so you shouldn't refer to it as they for any one change. Remember, if you said when all of these changes occur then you could have said they are. But if you are saying any one, once again, you're only referring to one of the changes, it occurs, then you should refer to it as, it. So right there. When any one of these changes occurs, it is likely the result of careful analysis conducted by transportation planners. We're now in the second paragraph of "A Life in Traffic." The work of transportation planners generally includes evaluating current transportation needs, assessing the effectiveness of existing facilities, and improving those facilities or they design new ones. All right, that felt a little bit off, so let's think about what's happening here. They're listing a bunch of stuff, they're listing what is included in the work of transportation planners. So the work of transportation planners generally includes, and then the first thing is evaluating current transportation needs. Then assessing the effectiveness of existing facilities. And improving those facilities, or they design new ones. So right over here when we're listing the different things, we see the first several things in our list, we have evaluating, the fancy term for something like this. This is a gerund, and this is a verb. You put an -ing at the end of it, it becomes a noun. The verb, to evaluate, well now we're talking about the action of evaluating. So that's a gerund. Then we have it again, assessing. And then we have improving. And then, if you want this sentence to be constructed in a natural way, instead of they design, you would want the gerund form of design, which is designing. Now let's see how that sounds. The work of transportation planners generally include evaluating current transportation needs, assessing the effectiveness of existing facilities, and improving those facilities, or designing new ones. That sounds a lot better. If you wanted to be even clearer, you can just think about these gerunds themselves. The work of transportation planners generally includes evaluating, assessing, and improving or designing. You have a nice parallel construction, it's called then. That all of the things that you're listing are in the same form. So this should definitely be designing, designing. And if we look here, luckily that is one of the choices. We're now on question three right over here. And, if you're under time pressure in the SAT, you might want to think about going straight to the sentence that includes question three in it. And different people might have one different style. Some people might want to read all of the context to kind of keep up with the passage. It depends on how fast you might read. But a lot of these you might be able to jump straight and be able to go straight to the question. So, let's do that first, then we can go back and see if reading this actually helped us. If analysis of the traffic count indicates that there is more traffic than the current road as it is designed at this time, yeah that sounds a little strange, can efficiently accommodate, the transportation planner might recommend widening the road to add another lane. So they're really just saying if analysis of the traffic count indicates that there's more traffic than the current road can accommodate, that the current road can efficiently accommodate. So really, maybe you don't need any of this stuff right over here. Let's look at the choices. So no change, no, I definitely want to change it. The way it's written right now is way more complicated than it needs to sound. It's very hard to understand. Current design of the road right now. If analysis of the traffic count indicates that there is more traffic than the current design of the road right now. Yeah, that right now feels unnecessary. If analysis of the traffic count indicates that there is more traffic than the road as it is now currently designed can efficiently accommodate. Yeah, that's a little bit wordy still. So, this one, this one actually, if analysis of of the traffic count indicates that there is more traffic than the current design of the road can efficiently accommodate, the transportation planner might recommend widening the road to add another lane. Yep, this is definitely the one. You know if I didn't look at the choices, similarly you could say the current road can efficiently accommodate. But you could also say the current design of the road can efficiently accommodate. Makes this a much, much cleaner, easier to understand, easier to understand sentence. Now that we've done that, let's just read the, you obviously would not have time to do this if you were taking the SAT. But let's just think about what the rest of it said. Most transportation planners work in or near cities, but some are employed in rural areas. Say, for example, a large factory is built on the outskirts of a small town. Traffic to and from that location would increase at the beginning and end of work shifts. The transportation planner's job might involve conducting a traffic count to determine the daily number of vehicles traveling on the road to the new factory. If analysis of the traffic count indicates that there is more traffic than the current design of the road can efficiently accommodate, the transportation planner might recommend widening the road to add another lane. So, all of this the sentences in between question two and question three, it's nice, it gives you context for why some transportation planners might have to deal with stuff that's in more rural areas, which is where there's a factory. And that's actually the context for having to analyze the traffic as people go to and from work. But, you actually didn't need to read all of this in order to answer this question right over here. So, we're now onto question four. Transportation planners work closely with a number of community stakeholders, such as government officials and other interested organizations and individuals. Next, representatives from the local public health department might provide input in designing a network of trails and sidewalks to encourage people to walk more. So, next definitely feels like a strange word to put there. In this first sentence, and I do think it was necessary to read this first sentence here. Because this, whatever we put here is, I think, going to connect that first and the second sentence. So, the first sentence is talking about transportation planners that work with other stakeholders, such as government officials, and other interested organizations and individuals. Now here, they talk about representatives from the local public health department. This looks like an example. So I would say something like, For example, representatives from the local public health department might provide input in designing a network of trails and sidewalks to encourage people to walk more. So, let's see what the choices give us. We definitely don't want to say no change. Well, for instance. This is like saying "for example". "For instance", it's giving an actual instance, an actual example of transportation planners working closely with a community stakeholder. "Furthermore", this isn't extending what was said in the first sentence. It's giving and example of it. Once again, "similarly", it's not saying something that is like what the first sentence said. It's giving an actual example of what the first sentence said. So, it's definitely B, for instance. For instance, representatives from the local public health department might provide input in designing a network of trails and sidewalks to encourage people to walk more. Members of the Chamber of Commerce might share suggestions about designing transportation and parking facilities to support local businesses. So, that was another example right over there. All right, let's go on to question five. Now, on question five. People who pursue careers in transportation planning have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. That actually feels pretty good. I don't know if I would change that at all. But let's see what the other choices are. People, who pursue careers in transportation planning, have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Well, when you put these commas around "who pursue careers in transportation planning," it makes it looks like hey, that's just, that's something that doesn't have to be part of the sentence. It's a, sometimes people say it's a non-restrictive clause. It's a clause that doesn't, kind of tells you another way of thinking about people. It's an optional thing. But, for this sentence, we couldn't just say people have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Even though that is true. People do have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. That's not what the meaning of the sentence is. It's very important that we talk about what type of people. People who pursue careers in transportation planning. So, I guess one way you could call it, is this is a very important restrictive clause for the sentence. You need to know what type of people. That is key to the meaning of the sentence. So, I wouldn't put commas around it, which makes you feel that it's hey, this is optional. It's another way of describing the people. And maybe you could just read, People have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. So, I don't like this. I think for the meaning that we are trying to give, the writer is trying to give, it is very important that you have "who pursue careers in transportation planning," not have commas. Once again, that commas make it sound like yeah, it's just another way of describing people. Not essential necessarily to the meaning of the sentence. But this is essential to the meaning of the sentence. People who pursue careers, in transportation planning, have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Well, this is kind of doing something similar. Now they're just putting "in transportation planning" in commas. And one way to think about that is you could say, People who pursue careers have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Well that's a true statement, but this whole passage is about people who pursue careers in transportation planning. You don't want to, just like we said for B, you don't want to mark this off, you don't want to mark this off with this clause making it seem like this clause is kind of optional. You need to say "in transportation planning." So I wouldn't put commas around it. And then finally, People who pursue careers in transportation planning, comma, have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Well that just feels, we just taking kind of the subject of the sentence and separating it from the predicate of the sentence with a comma for some reason. So that doesn't make any sense. So I would definitely go with no change with no commas in it. People who pursue careers in transportation planning have a wide variety of educational backgrounds. And then we can keep reading. But obviously if you're under time pressure for the SAT you wouldn't necessarily have to read all of this. But between answering all of these questions, it's nice to be able to read all of this. A two-year degree in transportation technology may be sufficient for some entry-level jobs in the field. Most jobs, however, require at least a bachelor's degree; majors of transportation planners are varied, majors of transportation planners are varied, including fields such as urban studies, civil engineering, geography, or transportation and logistics management. For many positions in the field, a master's degree is required. So once again, if you were doing this passage you wouldn't really have to read all of this. you could have just tackled this sentence by itself. But if you have the time it doesn't hurt to. You might learn something about career of transportation planning. We're now on question six. And there's a little bug here. I'm using an early prototype version of the software. It' says question six of five. It should be six of six, but anyway I think we get the point. Transportation planners perform critical work within the broader field of urban and regional planning. As of 2010, there were approximately 40,300 urban and regional planners employed in the United States. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts steady job growth in this field, projecting that 16 percent of new jobs in all occupations will be related to urban and regional planning. So grammatically that looks correct. But then they have this chart down here, and it says, Urban and Regional Planners Predict Increase in Employment, Projected 2010 to 2020. And what they tell us about urban and regional planners is that between 2010 and 2020 there's going to be a 16 percent increase in employment. And so I think what's going on here is that this isn't about grammatically fixing the sentence, but actually seeing whether the meaning of the sentence is correct. So this says, projecting that 16 percent of all new jobs, of new jobs in all occupations will be related to urban and regional planning. Is that what this is saying? Is this 16 percent saying the percent of all, of new jobs in all occupations that will be related to urban and regional planning? No, this 16 percent says it's the growth in employment in urban and regional planners. It's not saying that 16 percent of all jobs in all occupations will be related to urban and regional planning. In fact, when you just look at the raw number, 40,300 urban and regional planners employed in the United States, that's way, way, way, way, way less than 16 percent, even if you have growth from 2010 to 2020. So this sentence is just not right when you look at this data. They should be talking about growth from 2010 to 2020. It shouldn't be talking about 16 percent of all jobs are going to be related to urban planning. So, let's see which of these choices we'd go. We definitely don't want to say no change 'cause we don't think that's right. So we could say, warning, however, that job growth in urban and regional planning will slow to 14 percent by 2020. Well, I guess there's two issues here. One, there's no data that implies that the job growth will slow to 14 percent by 2020. And the other thing is the idea of warning, however. Somehow that this clause would contradict what was just said. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts steady job growth in this field, warning however, that job growth in urban and regional planning will slow, I mean they almost contradict each other. The first part says that there's going to be steady job growth. And the second one says, warning, however, that it's going to slow. And there's no data to back this up. Predicting that employment of urban and regional planners will increase 16 percent between 2010 and 2020. Well I think that's what this thing is, this is what they're saying. That you're going to have 16 percent increase in employment between 2010 and 2020. So that one looks very accurate. It's actually what's being described by this chart. Indicating that 14 to 18 percent of urban and regional planners, planning positions will remain unfilled. Well now, that's not what this chart is telling us. We don't have any data saying what percent is going to be unfilled. So I definitely wouldn't pick this. So, we would say, The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts steady job growth in this field, predicting that employment of urban and regional planners will increase 16 percent between 2010 and 2020. Once again we changed it, not because this sentence was grammatically correct, incorrect, but because this sentence... not because this sentence was grammatically incorrect, but because it actually wasn't consistent with the data. Just wasn't right. The meaning wasn't correct. This C here has the correct meaning.